Celebrating Diversity

Jamal Fulton, Lisa Tedesco, Justin Shaw, and Amanda Marie James

From left: Jamal Fulton, Lisa Tedesco, Justin Shaw, Amanda Marie James

Justin Shaw, a Laney Graduate School student in the english doctoral program, is the recipient of the 2017–18 Kharen Fulton Diversity Graduate Award. Shaw was presented the award at the annual Laney Graduate School Diversity Reception.

The award supports graduate student diversity, inclusion and community. It is named to honor the legacy of Kharen Fulton, the longtime director of recruitment, diversity and admissions at the Laney Graduate School. “I was completely surprised to receive this prestigious award. I did not have the pleasure of meeting Kharen, but I've heard the stories from those who did know her, and I feel her energy and spirit of love all around the Emory community,” says Shaw.

Fulton’s service to Emory stretched more than 30 years, and she was a pillar of the Laney Graduate School’s efforts to make Emory a warm and supportive place for students from all walks of life.  Says Laney’s dean Lisa Tedesco, “Kharen was a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion. She was tireless and diligent in her efforts to advance diversity and inclusion at the Laney Graduate School and at Emory. We are proud to carry on the good work she so deeply and genuinely believed in."

And that work is paying off. “We have come so far in the last several years to make this a unique and safe space to explore relevant issues about diversity while cultivating an evolving atmosphere of inclusivity and innovation, but there is still much work to be done,” says Shaw. Tedesco intends to continue that work.

“We want to be the graduate school of first choice for tomorrow’s leaders,” says Tedesco. “To attract the very best graduate students, we must be an academic community that welcomes, embraces and embodies diverse experiences, perspectives, and academic foci.”  Shaw agrees.

“It gives me joy, as it likely would have Kharen, to see so many individuals taking up the charge to continue her work of making Emory, and the Laney Graduate School, a destination for diversity in race, gender, sexuality, disability, and ethnicity,” says Shaw. “I am extremely honored and humbled to receive this award, and I pledge to always uphold, in my own scholarship and advocacy, the character, integrity, and love Kharen Fulton espoused and embodied all her life.”